The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Yemen to expel UN human rights envoy Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Yemen to expel UN human rights envoy

UN chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the decision [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 January, 2016

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Yemen's foreign ministry declared the UN's human rights representative "persona non grata" on Thursday, in a move condemned by the UN secretary-general.

Yemen's foreign ministry declared the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Yemen "persona non grata" in a statement released on Thursday.

The ministry accused George Abu al-Zulof of issuing unfair statements that "ignore the crimes committed by Houthi militias and forces loyal to the deposed Ali Abdullah Saleh against civilians".

The ministry also accused the UN agency of ignoring the "systematic violations" committed by the Houthis, their indiscriminate shelling and the siege of Taiz city.

"The siege imposed on civilians has threatened the lives of children due to the lack of medicine, food or water, yet international organisations barely pay any real attention to this catastrophe," said the statement.

"Some do not even dare tell the truth and point to the perpetrators of these crimes... who are the Houthis and Saleh's rebellious forces."

The foreign ministry said that it had been forced to reevaluate its cooperation with UN agencies due to their "unprofessionalism" and their lack of consideration for international human rights standards.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Yemeni government's decision and voiced "extreme concern" for the safety of the remaining national and international staff.

"The secretary-general stresses that United Nations staff must never be threatened or sanctioned for doing their work, which is based on the United Nations Charter," a statement issued by his spokesman said.

More from Yemen today
- Saudi-led coalition 'used cluster bombs in Yemen'
- Riyadh denies bombing Iran's 'undamaged' Yemen embassy
- Yemen troops seize strategic port from Houthi rebels

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the move was "very regrettable".

"We believe our office in Yemen has been doing an excellent job in very difficult conditions. We are awaiting an official written confirmation of this decision, but in the meantime will study the various accusations against our representative and his team contained in the government's public statements, and will respond in greater detail in the near future."

On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that at least 2,795 civilians had been killed and 5,324 wounded in Yemen since March, due to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and shelling by the Houthi rebels.

The UN's latest report said that it had "alarming information on the alleged use of cluster bombs by coalition forces" in Hajjah governorate.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused the Saudi-led coalition of dropping cluster bombs on residential neighbourhoods in the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Meanwhile, jet fighters from the Saudi-led coalition carried out dozens of air raids against the Yemeni capital, in what residents have described as the most intense airstrikes since March.

The Saudi-led coalition launched a campaign against Houthi rebels and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh in March 2015 after rebels advanced on the southern city of Aden, where Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had taken refuge before fleeing to Riyadh.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More